Course approved by University Studies Sub-committee. A2C2 action pending.
University Studies Course Approval
Department or Program: Economics
Course Number: 420
Semester Hours: 3
Frequency of Offering: Once a Year
Course Title: Labor Economics
Catalog Description: Economic theory relating to labor markets. Wage theory, bargaining models and contemporary labor issues considered.
This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: Yes
This is a new course proposal: No
University Studies Approval is requested in: Unity and Diversity: Contemporary Citizenship
Department Contact Person: Donald Salyards
Attachments: The attached syllabus addresses day-by-day coverage of course content. The course mixes undergraduate microeconomic theory as it applies to labor markets and governmental institutions with a more practical discussion of labor law and contemporary labor issues. The microeconomic theory component of the course is rigorous, requiring excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The contemporary labor issues focus of the course is focused on labor legislation, public agencies, human resource issues and other practical matters that students may face in their careers in business or government.
As required by the approval process, the following addresses the outcomes listed for Contemporary Citizenship courses and documents course content and learning activities relevant to the course outcomes:
The purpose of the Contemporary Citizenship requirement in University Studies is to provide students with the ability to participate as effective citizens in a democratic, multicultural, and global society. Courses that fulfill the contemporary citizenship requirement must address at least five of the specified six outcomes. This approval request specifies the satisfaction of the first five outcomes (a-e) below:
These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to:
Because of its emphasis on microeconomic theory as applied to labor markets, the course requires advanced critical thinking skills. Extensive use of utility theory, production functions, isoquant and isocosts, as well as advanced supply and demand analysis make this course highly demanding with respect to critical thinking skills. These theoretical models are applied to contemporary issues which include but are not limited to: wage and employment effects of labor unions, immigration as it influences wages and job availability of native workers, unemployment insurance systems and their effect on human productivity, and male-female wage differentials.
Students must complete homework assignments, which consist of at least one 10-page paper. In addition, all exams are essay exams requiring students to apply concise written answers to contemporary labor problems. As such, assessment of student skills depends largely on their writing and organizational abilities. Oral opinions are also expressed during class discussions, but are not used as part of the grading scheme.
Labor economics requires students to be aware of the latest changes in labor laws, both as they affect national policy and individual firms. The internet is widely used by students to make them aware of the legislation, public agencies, and private organizations that make up the fabric of labor markets in the United States. Common websites utilized by students for homework assignments are: AFL-CIO Home Page, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the National Labor Relations Board. Websites also exist which discuss specific concepts and laws, such as "History of U.S. Federal Labor Laws", "Davis-Bacon Act", and "How the Government Measures Unemployment for the US Department of Labor". An example of such a website may be found for the Bureau of Labor Statistics at: http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.toc.htm
Students in this course do not work in collaborative groups, but must be able to think on their own in solving problems. The difficulty of the economic models utilized in this course is such that students must spend a great deal of time outside of class to fully comprehend the workings and concepts portrayed in the models. These economic models present problems that do not have multiple solutions. The single, correct solution requires effective, independent concentration on the part of the student.
There are specific issues that should guide the behavior of business and policy professionals in the workplace as part of their personal and civic responsibility. Some of the issues that are identified and carefully scrutinized are: comparable worth, employee discrimination, employer discrimination, nepotism, and statistical discrimination. Students are versed in these topics and asked to discuss them in class. In addition students are made aware of the civic, personal, and legal consequences of inappropriate actions in employee relations.
Fall Semester, 2000
Attendance: Each student is responsible for all material or instructions presented in the classroom. Students are expected to be in class, on time, each day that class is held. Class discussion is an important aspect of this class, especially as it relates to contemporary labor issues.
Grading: Grades are based on the number of total points the student earns on exams and homework problems. There are 400 possible points that can be earned in this course. Generally grades for the course will be according to the following percentages: "A" if 90% or more. "B" if 80%-89%. "C" if 70%-79%. "D" if 60%-69%, and "E" if less than 60%.
Exams: Three exams (100 points each) will be given, each over specific chapters and appendixes as listed in the Daily Class Schedule. In addition, 100 points of homework, including at least one 10-page paper, will be assigned during the semester. No extra credit is given and no student will be permitted to make up an exam unless the instructor is notified prior to the exam or within 24 hours after the exam is administered.
Column one in the below table indicates the appropriate outcome letter(s) as outlined above that apply to each days assignment. They are appropriately labled, A,B,C,D, E.
Instructor: Donald M. Salyards
Office: Somsen 311-B
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday: 4-4:50 p.m.
Office Phone: 457-5622 (voice mail not in use)
Home Phone: 452-7635 (not after 9:00 pm please)